The Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in the Capital Regional District (CRD) by investing in 462 new spaces, including seven projects with local school districts.
“Adding child care to school grounds is a win for everyone – it gives kids a smoother transition into elementary school and offers convenience for parents,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This partnership with the local school districts is bringing hundreds of spaces to families across the city. With proposed changes to the School Act, making it easier for school districts to deliver child care, we hope to see even more of these partnerships in the future.”
Partnerships with both the Greater Victoria (SD 61) and Saanich (SD63) school districts will bring more than 300 child care spaces to elementary schools across the region. These spaces will be operated by local non-profit societies, with programming to be inclusive and teach children about local Indigenous cultures.
“The news of increased before- and after-school child care for Cordova Bay Elementary couldn't come at a better time,” said Heidi Low, president, Cordova Bay Elementary Parent Advisory Council. “As our school and community populations increase, we are thrilled to be able to offer more child care spaces for our families.”
Recent changes to the School Act will make it easier for school boards to create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will also require school boards to create an inclusive child care policy, and prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care.
“We know families want safe and convenient after-hours school care and we are committed to supporting them with programs on school grounds that are already designed to help grow young minds,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Our record, $2.8-billion school capital budget is allowing us to continue adding new child care spaces at neighbourhood learning centres as part of our plan to build, expand and replace schools in every corner of B.C.”
Four other projects in the Victoria region will create an additional 150 spaces for families. The City of Colwood is partnering with West Shore Parks and Recreation Society to create 40 school-age spaces, while the Esquimalt Nation is building a new 36 space child care centre. Saanich Neighbourhood Place is adding 49 spaces to its child care facility and Christ Church Cathedral Education Society is opening a new junior kindergarten with 25 spaces for children, ages 3 to 5.
The investment means that since the New Spaces Fund launched in July 2018, almost 1,400 new, affordable licensed child care spaces in the CRD have been funded as part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in the Capital Regional District save nearly $30 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Tim Dunford, board chair, Saanich Board of Education –
“The Saanich Board of Education is proud to partner with the Province to provide families with much-needed child care space expansion. We understand how important accessibility to child care is for families and that additional space is needed in our community. The board of education is excited for this opportunity to collaborate with the Province and our valued child care operators to better support students and families by expanding accessible child care spaces on our school sites.”
Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin –
“For too long, families in Greater Victoria haven’t been able to access quality, affordable child care. By partnering with school districts, our government is making it easier for families to access child care exactly where they need it – before and after school in the same facility. By working together, we are making it more convenient and efficient to access these important services.”
Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“We are thrilled to be able to collaborate with school districts to create more child care spaces for families right here in Victoria and across the province. It is just one way we are making things more affordable for families.”
Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands –
“The first years of a child’s life are a phase of incredible neural development, and every child deserves care that is nurturing, engaging, safe, fun and close to home. This work has been foundational to the minority government, and the BC Green caucus will continue to prioritize the creation of new public child care and early childhood spaces, as well as strive to better support the dedicated educators caring for our youngest citizens.”
Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South –
“I’m so excited that families in Saanich South will soon benefit from 60 new child care spaces. There are many young families in this community that have told me that access to child care will make a big difference in their lives.”
- The Greater Victoria and Saanich school districts have been leading the way in creating school-based child care for local parents. Since July 2018, they have received funding for more than 800 new licensed child care spaces in the region.
- Two child care centres in Victoria are also providing child care for no more than $10 a day, as part of the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites Program.
- The municipalities of Central Saanich, Highlands, North Saanich, Saanich, Sidney and Oak Bay are sharing a $150,000 grant through the UBCM Community Child Care Planning Grant Program to help create a long-term child care plan to support families in the community. The City of Victoria also received $23,300 to develop a child care plan.
- To date, the Province has invested more than $19 million to provide more than 11,500 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020. The Province has provided more than $1.4 million to early childhood educators in the CRD through the wage enhancement.
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
For more information on the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
For more information about child care in Victoria, visit: www.childcarevictoria.org
For more information about proposed changes to the School Act, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/21641
A backgrounder follows.